At my new job I have been looking at better ways of highlighting recent interesting answers.

Here is a list of 10 answers I came across in July that I found interesting. I tried to keep this language agnostic.

So here is my top 10 list:

What do the &= and =& operators do?

Why did PHP decide to have an assign by reference construct, why?

Defeating a Poker Bot

The most upvoted non-wiki answer on Stack Overflow for July. This answer came in months after the question was asked, it is really comprehensive. I loved the ideas about shifting all the pixels and throwing glitches, brilliant.

h3. “What is the _snowman param in Rails 3 forms for?”:

Rails 3 will ship with a hack to work around oddities with … Internet Explorer and unicode. I love the creativity of the solution, and everybody loves a snowman ☃.

h3. “What is the fastest method for selecting descendant elements in jQuery?”:

For those writing javascript answers, “jsfiddle”: can make your answer so much more awesome. I love an answer that puts in the extra effort and measures performance.

h3. “Why < is slower than >=”:

I love the way Python lets you “disassemble your program”: , wonderful feature.

h3. “C#: what is the difference between i++ and ++i?”:

“Eric Lippert”: usually has the definitive answer to any intricate question you have about C#, he also happens to have to most comprehensive answers to the most trivial questions.

h3. “Haskell: How is <*> pronounced?”:

This is my favorite answer I came across, wow.

h3. “Scala - how to explicitly choose which overloaded method to use when one arg must be null?”:

I am no Scala programmer, however I found the way Scala casting syntax to a bit prettier than the C# syntax, I like that it is more concise.

h3. “Modelling a permissions system”:

At some point in time we all hit a point where we need to design a permission system, this is a good summary of our options.

h3. “Are .Net switch statements hashed or indexed?”:

You learn something new every day, the C# compiler does some funky magic when it complies a “switch” statement.


Daniel_Sobral over 9 years ago

A small note here, but to cast x to String in Scala, one would use “x.asInstanceOf[String]”. The answer used “x: String” instead, which is an altogether different thing — a type ascription.

A type cast tells the compiler to assign a type no matter what evidence the compiler has about the correct type. A type ascription tells the compiler to assign a type while taking into account the evidence about the correct type.

A practical difference is that a type ascription may return a compile time error but will never throw an exception, while a type cast may throw an exception but will never return a compile time error.

In the example, null is a valid instance of both String and List[String], so it works in those cases. However, “null: Int” would result in compile time error, while “null.asInstanceOf[Int]” would compile fine (and might even work due to boxing).

Sam Saffron over 9 years ago
Sam Saffron


Thanks for the clarification, it’s funny in C# if you had the same problem you would use a type cast eg: (string)null to ensure the right overload was called.

Thanks so much for your note!


C_Mc_Cann over 9 years ago

Well, I was wondering why I was suddenly getting a bunch of upvotes on an answer from three weeks ago. Thanks for the kind words! Being a C# coder by day, getting mentioned in the same list as Eric Lippert really makes my day, haha.

Sam Saffron over 9 years ago
Sam Saffron

It is an amazing answer! It makes me want to start coding Haskell again

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